What is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)?
FQHC is a federal designation from the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that is assigned to private non-profit or public health care organizations that serve predominantly uninsured or Medically Underserved Areas or Populations (MUA or MUP). FQHCs are funded under section 330 of the Public Health Service Act.
FQHC Look Alikes, do not receive funding but do receive other benefits afforded to FQHCs and have to meet all the same requirements.
All FQHCs must operate under a consumer-led board of directors and provide comprehensive primary care, oral health, mental health and substance abuse services to persons in all stages of the life cycle. FQHCs provide their services regardless of ability to pay, and charge for services on a board approved sliding-fee scale that is based on patients' family size and income. FQHCs must comply with all 330 Program Requirements and all applicable federal and state regulations.
In exchange for meeting these requirements, health centers receive benefits including enhanced reimbursement for Medicaid and Medicare, malpractice coverage through the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), eligibility to participate in the 340 B pharmaceutical discount program, access to clinicians through the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), access to the Vaccines for Children’s’ Program and eligibility for other federal grants and programs.
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